Cataclysm Paladin Changes Compilation

There has been a ton of Cataclysm Paladin information this week, so here is everything I could gather.

Cataclysm Paladin Class [Source]

In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm we’ll be making several changes to class talents and abilities across the board. While this list only outlines some of our plans for the paladin class, we want to give you a look at the new high-level abilities and an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with each talent spec.

New Paladin Spells

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure’s ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears).

Next you will find a list of some of the paladin spell and ability changes, followed by our intentions for improving each talent tree for the release of Cataclysm. There will be further changes, but those revealed below should offer some insight into our goals.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

• Crusader Strike will be a core ability for all paladins, gained at level 1. We think the paladin leveling experience is hurt by not having an instant attack. Retribution will be getting a new talent in its place that either modifies Crusader Strike or replaces it completely.

• Cleanse is being rebalanced to work with the new dispel system. It will dispel defensive magic (debuffs on friendly targets), diseases, and poisons.

• Blessing of Might will provide the benefit of Wisdom as well. If you have two paladins in your group, one will do Kings on everyone and the other will do Might on everyone. There should be much less need, and ideally no need, to provide specific buffs to specific classes.

• Holy Shock will be a core healing spell available to all paladins.

New Talents and Talent Changes

• We want to ease off the defensive capabilities of Retribution and Holy paladins slightly. We think the powerful paladin defenses have been one of the things holding Retribution paladins back, especially in Arenas. One change we’re considering is lowering Divine Shield’s duration by a couple of seconds. Having said that, Retribution does pretty well in Battlegrounds, and Battlegrounds will be a much bigger focus in Cataclysm since they can provide the best PvP rewards. Furthermore, the healing environment of Cataclysm is going to be different such that a paladin may not be able to fully heal themselves during the duration of Divine Shield to begin with, so this may not be a problem.

• We feel Retribution paladins need one more mechanic which involves some risk of the player pushing the wrong button, making the rotation a bit less forgiving. In addition, we want to add to this spec more PvP utility. Right now the successes of the Retribution paladin in PvP seem to be reduced to either doing decent burst damage, or just being good at staying alive.

• We want to increase the duration of Sacred Shield to 30 minutes and keep the limit to one target. The intention is that the paladin can use it on their main healing target. That said, we would like to improve the Holy paladin toolbox and niche so that they don’t feel quite like the obvious choice for tank healing while perceived as a weak group healer.

• We want to add to the Holy tree a nice big heal to correspond with Greater Heal. Flash of Light remains the expensive, fast heal and Holy Light is the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light will be changed to work with Flash of Light. We like the ability, but want paladins to use it intelligently and not be constantly healing for twice as much.

• Holy paladins will use spirit as their mana regeneration stat.

• Protection paladins need a different rotation between single-target and multi-target tanking. Likewise, we’re looking to add the necessity to use an additional cooldown in each rotation.

• Holy Shield will no longer have charges. It will be designed to improve block chance while active, and will continue to provide a small amount of damage and threat.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Holy

  • Healing
  • Meditation
  • Critical Healing Effect

Protection

  • Damage Reduction
  • Vengeance
  • Block Amount

Retribution

  • Melee Damage
  • Melee Critical Damage
  • Holy Damage

Meditation: This is the spirit-to-mana conversion that the priest, druid, and shaman healers also share.

Vengeance: This is the damage-received-to-attack-power conversion that all tanks share.

Critical Healing Effect: When the paladin gets a crit on a heal, it will heal for more.

Block Amount: We want to keep the kit of the paladin as a tank who blocks a lot. So by contrast, the warrior tank will sometimes get critical blocks, but the paladin will absorb more damage with normal blocks.

Holy Damage: Any attack that does Holy damage will have its damage increased.

This concludes this Cataclysm preview for the paladin class. The development of these changes will continue to evolve in the coming months. Please be sure to provide any feedback and thoughts you might have on what was covered here.

And also Divine Storm [Source]

Divine Storm will get the Whirlwind treatment (less damage per target but unlimited targets).
The difference is that paladins fit their rotations around cooldowns while warriors do so around a limited resource. So it’s entirely possible a paladin will still use DS when other attacks are on cooldown. (It will depend on what exactly the Ret rotation looks like, which we’re still developing.) Divine Storm also provides a little healing too, so it’s not exactly the same as Whirlwind. We probably wouldn’t want to get to the point where Rets feel the need to have their single target spec without DS and the cleave spec with DS. (And without knowing the numbers, it’s going to be difficult for any of you to insist that this will or will not happen.)
In general, we don’t want buttons that are good against single targets to just be better against groups of targets. It makes rotations too static and makes numbers hard to balance since “cleavey” specs can do so much more damage against tight packs of enemies. Some higher damage is fine. It just too extreme right now.
These are previews, not patch notes. Just because we didn’t mention anything doesn’t mean there is no chance of it changing.

And Additional Paladin Information:

Flash of Light [Source]
We’ve updated the Flash of Light reference to make it a bit more clear in the original post as follows.
  • Flash of Light remains a fast heal, but will be more expensive to justify the cast speed. Holy Light will be the go-to heal that has average efficiency and throughput. Beacon of Light needs to be changed so that its benefit is letting the paladin heal two targets at once, not letting the paladin get two heals for the mana cost of one. It’s intended to save GCDs and targeting time, not mana.

In addition we’re changing the paladin heal design to match that of the other healers. Holy Light is the middle heal. It’s very efficient, but not particularly fast and doesn’t have a lot of throughput. Flash of Light will be the faster heal that costs more mana. (Currently paladins sort of flip the model around by having a fast, efficient heal.) Holy paladins can talent into an additional heal that is like a giant Holy Light. It might take three of these big heals (or two crits) to get a tank from death’s door back to 100% health.

Beacon of Light [Source]

Currently on live, Beacon of Light is a tool that allows paladins to target more than just the main tank. In Cataclysm if it just doubles their healing, it is going to be overpowered. We have two ways we might handle this and we’ll experiment to see which feels better. The first is that Beacon only works on some heals, such as Flash of Light or Holy Light (but not the big one). An alternative idea is that Beacon increases the mana cost of a heal cast on a beaconed target, since you’re essentially getting a double heal. Under this model, Beacon itself would cost no mana.

Single Target Healing / Huge Mana Pool [Source]
Also on the live realms currently, paladins have huge mana pools and massive throughput. The trade-off is that they are excellent single target healers and much weaker in other roles. We want paladins to be slightly more interchangeable with other healers. In Cataclysm, you should be able to have a Holy priest on the tank and a Holy paladin on the raid. We’re not sure we’ll back off of the current healing roles completely, but we definitely want to add more breadth to those whose roles are currently too narrow.

Guardian of Ancient Kings [Source]

As for the Guardian of Ancient Kings. First, it’s important to understand that this is not a pet nor does it have a pet bar associated with it. Second, it’s also not meant to last for very long. So, it’s not a pet in the traditional sense. It’s a friend in need when you need it, but not a permanent companion.

Paladin Healing model [Source]
We talked a lot about keeping the paladin model inverted, where the small heal is super efficient. There is probably a way it could still work. In the end we were just concerned that it would end up biting us in the rear. Somewhere along the way we’d have to make special rules to handle the paladin, who would risk being too mana efficient or too incapable of healing when forced to heal outside of their mana-efficient comfort zone. Could we have designed it? Probably. But frankly I’d rather spend our time on more interesting mechanics and spells. I’d rather the new AE heal really make paladins feel like they can AE heal rather than really making sure FoL felt small, cheap and fast. I agree it erodes a little bit of distinction among the classes, but only a little bit. There are far more interesting ways to make healers feel unique than in the relative mana efficiency of their small spell.

Blessings / Blessing of Sanctuary [Source]
Kings and Might can just be raid wide. There should be no need to target individuals. We’re trying to make sure there isn’t a circumstance where one dude would prefer the opposite buff to everyone else.

Bo Sanc could just be Kings with an extra mana component (for the paladin). We’re also considering making it a passive that gives the paladin mana and provides the 3% damage reduction buff raid-wide which is currently brought by Renewed Hope (the Disc talent).

Scaling back AoE Tanking Capabilities of Paladins [Source]
That’s still the goal. I guess I’m unclear of what part of the paladin preview you took to mean that we’re keeping the same or even enhancing the ability for paladins to AE tank.

We tried to stay away from numbers as much as possible in the previews, except to give you a vague sense of the intent for some of the new abilities in terms of whether something has a short cooldown or a long cooldown.

[…] No, it’s not really that. We just have a couple of different avenues we’re exploring and we didn’t want to have say models A, B and C in different large paragraphs. The ideas just need a little more time to bake.

And I’m not entirely sure how you’re using “niches” but I am talking about wanting Prot paladins to use slightly different rotations against single targets than against groups. The addition of Crusader Strike (and maybe Holy Shock?) alone start to provide that.

Critical Healing Effect [Source]
There also seems to be some confusion about Critical Healing Effect which simply means a critical heal can do more than 150%. (Think of talents like Ruin for warlocks.) We wanted to keep some of the feel of Holy paladins getting big critical heals and caring about crit in general. This mechanic wouldn’t really have worked in Wrath of the Lich King because big crits just translated into overhealing. In Cataclysm that shouldn’t be the case.

Twitter Dev Chat – 04/16 [Source]
Q: Will healing hands be a paladin-centered tranquility, or something we have to run around to keep people in range of?

A: The idea is that it matters where the paladin is, so it won’t be raid-wide like Tranquility will be in Cataclysm. We will make sure the magnitude of the heal is sufficient that it’s a button the paladin wants to use. The cooldown and duration aren’t set in stone either.

Q: Now that paladin’s Holy Shock is baseline is there any plans to change the Art of War talent?
A: We like Art of War, so we don’t expect it will go away. We understand the concern that Holy Shock might compete with Art of War a little bit in terms of role (an instant damage spell) and that’s something we’re going to have to address.

Q. What information/ideas can you share on PvP utility in the Retribution tree? Mandatory gap closer/interrupt question. Not having a cleanse will hurt. :\
A. Retribution paladins will be getting an interrupt.

Paladin Healing in Cataclysm [Source]

There are a lot of strange assumptions in this thread.

Our goal is for paladins to be able to raid heal. Don’t look at the designs for spells that none of you have even been able to try and conclude those mechanics can’t possibly allow you to raid heal and therefore our goal can’t possibly be met and will therefore be abandoned. It’s fine to raise concerns — that’s one of the reasons we announce stuff like this early — but some of you are trying to get a spell buffed that you haven’t even cast yet.

I will say our vision for the AE spell though is not that the paladin runs around constantly, but that you position yourself where you can do the most good. Sometimes that will be back with the healers. Sometimes that might be in the melee. Sometimes you’ll have to spread out and your group healing won’t be as efficient (in the same way a shaman’s group healing isn’t as good in the same scenario).

Tranquility is on a very long cooldown. It is not the way druids AE heal. We want to shift it from 5-person group to raid because we’d like to do that with every spell. Having to organize players by arbitrary group is a strange concept since it doesn’t actually manifest itself in the real world (in the way distance from you on the battlefield does).

We aren’t going to give paladins anything resembling Circle of Healing. One (or two) of those spells in the game is plenty.

Spirit will be a good stat to stack but only to a point. Once you can heal say a six minute boss fight without going out of mana, then any additional Spirit is pretty much wasted. At that point stats like crit start to look pretty attractive because they increase your spell’s throughput without increasing the mana cost. Maybe you’ll be able to heal someone with one cast, allowing you to swap over and heal another player. In today’s healing environment, where a lot of that excess healing will be wasted overhealing, getting a huge crit on a spell isn’t nearly as valuable.

We’ll have to see how raid healing goes. We might be okay with the tendency for groups to still assign paladins to tank healing because they are particularly good at it. What we want to avoid are those cases where a group feels like they can’t possibly keep tanks alive because they lack a paladin or they can’t possibly keep groups alive because they have too many paladins.

Comments

  1. Scott Olson says:

    I play a paladin and a disc priest in WotLK and although I do consider my toons tank healers primarily, I’d say thats what every healer is… If the tanks go down the whole raid dies. That doesn’t mean I don’t cast spells on the raid to keep them alive also. I think the point that is trying to be conveyed here is there won’t be any more of this attitude you can’t have two pallys or two priests in one ten man?! Now, if that is the goal I don’t care how it is accomplished I am sold on it.

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